Rolling in the Fun: A Guide to Modern Lawn Bowls

  • By: Jack Toucher
  • Date: June 8, 2023

Lawn bowls is a sport that has been enjoyed by many for centuries. Originally played on grassy fields, the game has evolved to be played on specially designed greens. It is a sport that is enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels, and has a strong following in many countries around the world, particularly British Commonwealth countries. Here follows a guide to modern lawn bowls.

In this article, I will be discussing the popularity of lawn bowls as a sport and delving into the 10 key aspects that make it such a beloved pastime. These include:

  • the history of the sport
  • the equipment used
  • the various types of bowls games
  • the different playing surfaces
  • the rules and regulations
  • the strategies and techniques used
  • the major tournaments and competitions
  • the role of technology in the sport

Whether you are a seasoned pro or a curious beginner, this article will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the world of lawn bowls and the reasons why it continues to captivate so many people.

What is lawn bowls?

Lawn bowls, also known as bowls, is a sport that has been enjoyed for centuries. It is a game that is played on a specially designed green, typically made of closely mown grass. The objective of the game is to roll bowls, which are small, spherical balls, as close as possible to a smaller ball, known as the “jack”.

The history of lawn bowls can be traced back to ancient Egypt, where bowls were found in tombs dating back to the 13th century BC. The sport eventually made its way to England in the 13th century, where it was played by the upper classes. Over time, the game evolved and spread to other parts of Europe and eventually to other parts of the world. Today, lawn bowls is a popular sport in many countries, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Canada.

The basic rules and objectives of lawn bowls are relatively simple. The game is played by two teams of one, two, or four players, each with as many as four bowls, depending on the number of players. The team that gets the most bowls closest to the jack wins the end, and the team with the most points at the end of the game wins the match. The objective of the game is to roll the bowls as close as possible to the jack, with the aim of hitting it or making it difficult for the opposing team to hit it.

The equipment used in lawn bowls includes the bowls, the jack, and the bowling green. Bowls are made of a hard, smooth material. In the old days bowls were made of wood (lignum) but today they are made out of advanced plastic materials. Lawn bowls come in various sizes and weights. Modern lawn bowls are available in a wide array for beautiful colours and finishes.

The jack is a smaller ball that is typically made of the same material as the bowls. The bowling green is a specially designed area of closely mown grass, typically between 30-40 meters long and 4-5 meters wide. It is surrounded by a bank or a ditch, which serves to contain the bowls as they are rolled.

In addition to the equipment, players also wear special shoes with smooth soles to avoid damaging the green. Bowls have bias which means that they will curve towards one direction or another based on the weight distribution. The bias is used strategically to place the bowls closest to the jack or to disrupt the opposing team’s bowls.

Lawn bowls is a sport that has a rich history and is enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. The basic rules and objectives of the game are simple, making it accessible to everyone. The equipment used in lawn bowls includes the bowls, the jack, and the bowling green, which are all specially designed to optimize the playing experience. The sport is a relaxing and enjoyable pastime that continues to captivate people around the world.

Outdoor and indoor lawn bowls compared

Indoor and outdoor bowls are both variations of the popular sport of lawn bowls, but there are some key differences between the two. Outdoor bowls is played on a grass green, while indoor bowls is played on a flat, smooth surface, typically made of wood covered by a synthetic, carpet-like material.

Lawn bowls played outside

Outdoor bowls is played on a green that is typically between 30-40 meters long and 4-5 meters wide. The grass is closely mown and the green is surrounded by a bank or a ditch, which serves to contain the bowls as they are rolled. The game is played with bowls that are made of a hard, smooth material, typically wood or plastic, and come in various sizes and weights. The jack, which is the smaller ball that is the target of the game, is typically made of the same material as the bowls.

Lawn bowls played indoors

Indoor bowls, on the other hand, is played on a flat, smooth surface that is typically made of wood and a synthetic covering. Players of indoor bowls prefer bowls with less bias. They are typically made of a hard plastic. The jack is also different, it is a smaller ball that is typically made of a lighter material.

Pluses and minuses

Each variation of the game has its own advantages and disadvantages. Outdoor bowls is considered by many to be the “pure” form of the game, as it is played on a natural surface and the elements can play a role in the outcome of the game. The natural surface can be unpredictable and can make the game more challenging. Outdoor bowls also allows for a more relaxed and laid-back atmosphere, as the game is played in the open air.

Indoor bowls, on the other hand, offers a more controlled environment, as the game is played on a flat, smooth surface. This allows for more consistency in the game and can make it more appealing to players who are looking for a more competitive experience. However, playing indoors can be less exciting as the game is played in a controlled environment, and the natural elements can be missed.

It all starts at the bowls club

Bowls clubs play a vital role in promoting and organising the sport of lawn bowls. These clubs serve as a community for players to come together, practice, and compete in games and tournaments. Many bowls clubs also offer training and coaching for players of all skill levels, from beginners to experienced players.

One of the most important roles of bowls clubs is to provide a space for players to come together and compete in organised games and tournaments. These tournaments can range from local, club-level events to national and international competitions. Some notable tournaments include the World Bowls Championships, which is held every four years and features players from around the globe, and the Commonwealth Games, which features bowlers from the Commonwealth nations.

Another important aspect of bowls clubs is the social aspect they provide. Bowls clubs often host social events such as BBQs, dances, and other gatherings which can help to build a sense of community among players and also attract new players. They also play a role in encouraging people to come and try the sport, making it accessible to those who may not have otherwise considered it.

Most prestigious lawn bowls tournaments globally

One of the most prestigious tournaments in the bowls world is the World Indoor Bowls Championship, which is held annually in the United Kingdom. This tournament features some of the best indoor bowlers from around the world and attracts a large audience. Another notable tournament is the Commonwealth Games, which is held every four years and features bowlers from the Commonwealth nations. It’s a great opportunity for bowlers to showcase their skills and compete against some of the best players in the world.

In conclusion, bowls clubs play a vital role in promoting and organizing the sport of lawn bowls. They provide a space for players to come together and compete in organized games and tournaments, and also offer training and coaching for players of all skill levels. Additionally, tournaments such as the World Indoor Bowls Championship and the Commonwealth Games provide a platform for bowlers to showcase their skills and compete against some of the best players in the world.

Equipment for playing lawn bowls

Lawn bowls is a sport that requires a specific set of equipment to play. The most essential piece of equipment is the bowls themselves. These bowls come in different sizes and weights, with a bias or curvature on one side that causes them to travel in a curved path when rolled. The size and weight of the bowls will depend on the player’s preference and skill level.

Another important piece of equipment is the jack, also known as the kitty or the target bowl. This small white ball is the target that players aim to get their bowls closest to. The green, or playing surface, is also a crucial piece of equipment. It should be smooth and well-maintained, with proper drainage and a consistent surface to ensure fair play.

When selecting equipment, it’s important to consider your skill level and the type of game you will be playing. For example, if you are a beginner, it’s best to start with a set of lightweight and medium-sized bowls. As you improve, you may want to experiment with different sizes and weights to find what works best for you. Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that the equipment you select should be comfortable for you to use.

Maintaining lawn bowls equipment

Maintaining your equipment is also crucial for ensuring fair play and prolonging the life of your equipment. This includes cleaning your bowls and jack after each game and storing them in a safe place to prevent damage. You should also regularly check your green for any damage or unevenness and make necessary repairs. Additionally, it is important to check the bias and weight of your bowls and make sure they meet the standard requirements.

In conclusion, lawn bowls equipment includes bowls, jack, and green. It’s important to select equipment that is appropriate for your skill level and the type of game you will be playing. It’s also crucial to maintain your equipment properly to ensure fair play and prolong the life of your equipment. By following these tips and guidelines, you can ensure that you have the right equipment to enjoy the sport of lawn bowls.

Start playing lawn bowls now

The most common comment new bowlers make is: “I should have started years ago!” So show up at your local club and say you want to start playing. You will be amazed at the friendliness of the people and their willingness to show you the ropes. And you don’t need a set of bowls to start playing. Clubs generally have plenty of spare sets on hand that you can start with.